Photos

Projecting

One fear I want to overcome is the fear of carrying my mirrorless camera with me outside. I wanted to take a picture of the mountains near my home, but I didn’t when I came across a stranger. He minded his own business, but I felt shy. Why do I find the act of taking pictures nerve-wracking sometimes? It might be the attention. It might be that I’m projecting my own thoughts and emotions onto other people. I have to remind myself why I want to take pictures in the first place: because it’s fun.

Today, Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share to help artists impacted by the coronavirus. I spent almost $70 on new music today, and I couldn’t be happier. It’ll help me forget that we’re living through an apocalypse. I wish other people got the memo, though. Traffic yesterday was insane. Too many people from out of state are coming into Montana, and I’m worried that yesterday’s 67 new cases will be a drop in the bucket later in the summer.

At least Hamilton is now on Disney+.

Heartbeat

I dreamt that someone close to me was dying. She lied beside me, and I felt her heartbeat. It was fast but I expected it to slow down and then stop. I woke up before that happened. How many of us aren’t lucky enough to wake up from a nightmare?

I returned to this view of the mountains because it brings me peace. I understand how lucky I am to live where I do, and I’m grateful. The sky should clear up by the weekend, and I hope I have the courage to step out of my house and explore my home.

Life is too short. I want to live. I want to make every heartbeat count.

Headache

Battled through a headache for most of the day, but I managed to find peace in the storm clouds. I took a right turn on my way home and saw this view of the mountains I’ve never seen before. I’m beginning to understand the appeal of driving down back roads and getting lost in my backyard. There will always be new sights and new experiences, and that gives me joy in this time of great pain.

Scientists found a new virus in pigs that they say has pandemic potential. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci says he expects America to hit 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Some states are closing down again, and Montana set a record of new cases on the first two days of this week. School reopens in a few weeks, but how many of us actually expect to be back in the classroom by then? All I can do is turn off my screens, open my notebooks, and write.

Terrors

I dreamt that I told the devil to fuck off, then heard a young child’s joyful laughter as I lied frozen in bed. I hadn’t had night terrors in a long time, and I forgot how terrifying they can be. I fell back asleep and dreamt that a pair of demons chased me but stopped when I introduced them to YouTube. One of them looked like Keith David, and I think we were having a good time but then my alarm went off.

I felt sad yesterday, and I wasn’t sure why. I thought about seasons and the space in between them. I’m in the middle of a transition, but I’m unsure of where I’m going. I tried to focus on my tools to get a semblance of control back into my life, and I felt like a pendulum swinging back and forth between digital and analog tools. I spent last night playing my guitar and reading Kafka on the Shore in bed. I set my devices to do not disturb and wrote in my notebooks. This phase is quiet. The rain sounds nice.

Changes

A rare selfie
A rare selfie

I spent most of yesterday thinking about changes and I spent most of this morning thinking about home. I want to focus on the things that matter this summer, and to accomplish this, I have to reduce as many distractions as possible. I deactivated Facebook and Instagram, and I deleted Snapchat from my phone. I want to own my content and have my own home online to store them. Saturday’s river excursion expanded my view on what it means to live in a place, and I came away inspired. As self-evident as this sounds, my home isn’t the four walls and a roof that protect my stuff; it’s where I live, and I live in a beautiful place I haven’t fully explored. My next step is to reduce my TV consumption.

I want to fill this time with music and reading and writing. I want to go outside and feel the sun on my skin. I want to sit in a place and listen to the birds sing and the wind blow. I want to slow down and appreciate every breath. The world is still suffering and time is short. Over half a million people have died and every country on earth is reopening. Meanwhile, our president tweeted a video where one of his supporters yelled “White power!” and the president’s team is focusing on what nickname to give Joe Biden. We truly live in the worst timeline, but does anyone want it any other way?

Walls

I went to the river to think. I parked near an old fire pit with a used diaper in it, a fitting symbol for humanity. I pulled out my camera and snapped some pictures, but then I stopped and listened. I listened to the birds and the river and the wind, and I felt both so ashamed and so overwhelmed by the beauty around me. This was the first time in my eight years living in Montana that I made this drive. That’s eight years of taking where I live for granted. The drive down didn’t take long at all, and I wonder how many more days could have been better lived if I just got into my car and started the engine.

I wish I wasn’t so anxious all the time. I wish it was easier for me to get out of my own way and just live. But it’s not. I have built up these walls around me to make me feel safe and secure from the world, and I’m only now realizing how much better I’d be without them. Even now, as I’m writing this in my home, I feel comfortable behind my walls. They have protected me my whole life, and I’m having a tough time imagining a world without them. But if yesterday taught me anything, it’s that the world is too big to enclose behind walls.

On a whim, I pulled out my microphone and connected it to my phone. I recorded ten minutes of the sounds around me, and when I listened to it later in the day, I experienced this sense of freedom I’ve never felt before. It’s beyond the “anything is possible” platitude I want to say but know isn’t enough to capture my feelings. The walls are still there, and I doubt they’ll ever be gone completely, but I can feel them expanding, even just a bit, and maybe that’s all I need to get started.

Apocalypse

Before the apocalypse, I had been writing a novel about a man who watched his friend lose everything. I had been writing this book for years, and every time I felt like I finally found my voice, something would happen where I would question myself so severely that I lost all confidence in myself and in everything I was doing. The last time this happened was on the 24th of February. I had used this notebook to write down all of the thoughts and ideas I had for this story, and I opened it for the first time last night. All I could think about was how trivial that time feels to me now.

Yesterday morning I came across this image in my feeds, followed by this one. Over 121k people have died in America because of the coronavirus. How will humanity, especially Americans, see themselves once this is all over? Once we can see the destruction of this virus in total? How many lives were needlessly lost because we couldn’t stay inside or because we couldn’t wear face masks? I’m no angel, either, and I’m afraid to see what’s going to happen to us next.

Fireworks have been going off around my neighborhood every night this week. Next weekend, we will be celebrating our Independence Day. More fireworks will light up the night sky, some more dazzling than others, and all I can think about is whether we’re gathering together to truly celebrate or because we just like to see stuff explode.

Screens

I dreamt last night of family I’ve never met. My father’s people. My dream people. It was a fitting end to a very lackluster day. I spent most of it in front of screens, and I had this strong desire to turn everything off and focus on something physical. I looked through my books and remembered I had bought Kafka on the Shore before the pandemic hit. I took this picture before I started reading it, a promise to myself to slow down and appreciate the time I have.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time, about whether I’ve wasted too much of it in front of screens, both the digital and the physical. I look out my window and at the mesh screen and dream about going outside, but the pull of the digital screen is too strong. I want to shut it all down and drive away sometimes, but my doubt and anxiety can be overwhelming. In my notebook yesterday, I wrote, “Thinking about whether I got what it takes.” I was thinking about my writing, but it can apply to this, too. I asked my friends for directions to a quiet and secluded spot by the river. I hope I go there soon.

Voices

Drank last night. Been battling through some of the voices in my head and wondering if I’ve discovered something new. There’s that voice I hear when I write in my journal. Another when I write my fiction. And now I hear a confluence of the two when writing online. I drank to figure it out but all I got was sleepy.

I’m paying more attention to my days. That’s been an unwritten goal of mine for a long time, and all it took was writing it down in my notebook and capturing it with my camera. The question I ask myself is whether my life is reflected in my notebook or my notebook reflected in my life. Is there a difference?

Blindness

Once, a friend of mine introduced me to one of her friends as the tech guy. Her friend looked me over and said, “You look like a tech guy,” and smiled before we did shots together. I told her it probably because of my glasses. “No, you just look smart,” she said. I nodded, finished my beer, and ordered another one.

I can’t see without my glasses. The world is blurry when I take them off and clear again when I put them on. Writing, for me, is like putting on my glasses. My thoughts and feelings come into focus. I write because I want to remember the past. I want to remember what I felt and saw, what I thought was worthy of writing down. Otherwise, I’m blind. I move through the world in a blurry fog of shapes and colors. Sometimes I wonder if that’s not the perfect metaphor for humanity.

Remember when Rick Perry started to wear glasses? He tried to look the part, and in a way, he succeeded. I read yesterday that because of the coronavirus, black people have lost over 45k years of life. Latinos have lost over 48k. White people have lost 33k. Meanwhile, the Europeans have banned Americans from entering their country because of how our government handled this crisis. I write this down to remember it later.

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